Obedience and Love

After being here in Florida for almost a week now, I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for you all.  I love the unity of our family . . . how we’re all helping and supporting each other in the same goal.  I am grateful for consistent family home evenings, for weekly church attendance, for nightly prayer and scripture study, and for mom’s insistence that we hug/kiss each other every time we leave the house.  It’s awesome.  You’ll miss it. Trust me!

Being in the “real world” really helps me wee that families are under attack.  From every side.  Families like ours are rare. Cherish it. Strengthen it. And work hard to create this type of family later on your own.

I’m learning so much about obedience out here.  I’m learning that it’s not so much what the rule is, but our willingness to follow every rule that matters.  And it really does matter.  Heavenly Father needs to know that we are willing to give up everything to follow Him, so that when he gives us special instruction and revelation He will know that we will obey.  We don’t need to be perfect, but we need to be willing.  This is vital out here because Heavenly Father will tell us who to talk to and put people in our path that need to receive the gospel, and if we have feelings of guilt from disobedience or we are distracted because our hearts aren’t fully on our work, we won’t be able to discern the Spirit of understand His instruction.

So, continually strive to be better at the little things.  We won’t be perfect, but as we are trying our best to improve ourselves every single day, I promise that Heavenly Father will reward us.  When you’re making sacrifices, you will be blessed everytime. And you won’t become complacent or fall away. Cool, right!

The mission is going well for one week into it. I love my companions, I’m gaining a love for the people, and my love of the gospel grows every single dayI think that’s the most important thing to focus on, not just a mission, but always: LOVE.  If you have love for Heavenly Father, Christ, and their children, you can’t go wrong.  Luckily, I’ve been taught that my whole life.  I’m ahead of the game.

I really feel like I’ve been blessed in the language here.  I mean my Spanish still needs lots of work, but I hear so much from Sis. Carson and others that my Spanish is really good for only being here a week.  I feel really blessed for that.  I hope it continues to come easily.  Thanks for all your prayers in my behalf.  I can really feel the Lord’s help daily.

I’m praying for you all, always.  That is, when I’m not praying for investigators… they really are in my thoughts always.  It’s crazy. But great.

I love you all so much!  Thank you for all your love and support. I have the best fam ever!

Con todo mi amor,

Hermanita Morgan Lewis

XOXOXOXOXXO

IMG_0204

Advertisements

Arrived in Florida!

I made it! I’m here! I’m safe! I’m sound! (kind of) And I am almost done with my first week of real life missionary work! It’s awesome!

I can’t ever miss a P Day again cause I had way too many emails to keep up with. I think I read for a straight 30 minutes. I felt so loved! I got my bike and everything just fine; it was all set up and everything! We have a car though for now, so I haven’t ridden it yet. But great job Daddio, I love it all! I also got the package. Thanks Momma. 🙂

So the past semana y media:

We woke up at 2AM to finish packing etc to make it to the travel office by 4. And what does dear Provo leave us with?

SNOW.

It snowed the morning we left. My hair was a mess all day so yeah. That happened. I got to call home from the airport (thanks for being awake at 5:30 am, it means so much. Send Madi my love cause I didn’t get to talk to her) and we headed off to FLORIDA!

We got to Tampa around 3 pm and President Summerhayes and the APs were waiting for us right at the end of the tram. He’s the nicest guy! I really love Pres. Summerhays. We spent the night at the mission home and ate real food for the first time in 6 weeks and it was lovely. First good night’s sleep I’ve gotten since sleeping in my own bed. The next morning we went to the church bright and early for some more training and we met our TRAINERS!

My new companions are Hermana Larsen and Hermana Carson, and they are the sweetest companions I could have ever asked for! I don’t know how I got so lucky. Hna. Carson is from Idaho and only has 4 months left on her mission..crazy! I can’t even think that far in advance. Hna. Larsen is from Provo and came out one transfer before me. They are so fun and so loving and I am stoked for the next 5 weeks with these babes!

Our investigators are incredible. It’s amazing how much love you can have for these people so quickly! You really do start to see them as they can be, not just as they are right now…and they have so much potential! I’m still trying to get to know them, so I’m sure I’ll have some stories next week. But pray for them please. It’s sometimes hard to get them to realize that this isn’t just another church, but it’s the truth and it’s right in front of them, and Heavenly Father is just waiting for them to come back! I’ve never been so grateful for our home ward. The ward really is such a key factor in missionary work. You can’t bring more people into the gospel without a strong base that will help keep them there. We have so many investigators and are so busy that the members really do have to step up and fellowship! I know they can do it though.

I feel so blessed to be here with these hermanas and with this ward. The people are on my mind constantly: how can we help them, what can we tell them, how can we bring them back to the Savior? Literally, all day every day. It’s amazing! Missionary work is such a blessing. I think the trick is loving where you are, no matter what. Come what may and LOVE IT. Find the humor in life and appreciate every single moment. Because time seriously flies by.

Gage! You’re getting baptized so soon! I can’t believe you’re turning 8 this week. I’ll try to get something in the mail for you soon 🙂 You’ve been on my mind a lot lately since baptism is kind of the goal for us missionaries. I am so proud of you and the decision you’re making, and I know Heavenly Father is so proud of you, too. Baptism is the most amazing thing, and I wish I could be there for yours. But, I’m there in spirit! Could you write down your testimony for me to maybe share with some investigators? Write your experience and how you felt through all of it. I really want some of them to read that. Thank you!

I love you all so much. Sorry I don’t have a lot of time right now to email! Keep up your amazing selves and know that I love you and I’m praying for you always!

con todo mi amor,
Hermana Morgan Lewis
xoxoxoxoxo
1434343434343
The MTC Map - Tradish to get a photo here!

The MTC Map – Tradish to get a photo here!

MTC District 38C - Elders going to Monterrey, Mexico and the Hermanas to Tampa!

MTC District 38C – Elders going to Monterrey, Mexico and the Hermanas to Tampa!

Attempting a district selfie!

Attempting a district selfie!

Awk handshake with Elder Needham... a great high school friend.

Awk handshake with Elder Needham… a great high school friend.

Lucy, Jenn, Hermana Lewis, Hermana Tanner, and Wilsynn - BYU Besties!

Lucy, Jenn, Hermana Lewis, Hermana Tanner, and Wilsynn – BYU Besties!

Hermana Tanner and Hermana Lewis ... so fun to be in the MTC with best friends!

Hermana Tanner and Hermana Lewis … so fun to be in the MTC with best friends!

Hermana Lewis and Hermana Beirdneau (awesome instructor!)

Hermana Lewis and Hermana Beirdneau (awesome instructor!)

The morning we left for Florida...It snowed!

The morning we left for Florida…It snowed!

SNOW!

SNOW!

On the airplane to Tampa!

On the airplane to Tampa!

IMG_0435

IMG_0443

We arrived in Tampa!

We arrived in Tampa!

We are Family: District 38C

General conference here was so great! It was so fun to feel the energy and spirit of the Lord’s army in the MTC. When they reported the new missionary count (65,600 plus 26,000 more on the way!), we cheered; when Sister Dalton got released, you could hear gasps throughout the audience; when they announced the prophet’s talk, you could hear pens clicking and quiet whispers of “yes!” scattered all around; and when Jeffrey R. Holland spoke, the entire auditorium was completely silent. The MTC is magic, it’s going to be hard to leave in 4 days.

VOCAL POINT was our devotional on Sunday night!! They are awesome, it was one of my favorite devotionals in the history of the MTC. Hermana Platt got called on to pray for the devotional so we had front row seats!! I was a little starstruck. It’s fine.

It’s snowed here again the other day, I think as a final goodbye from my dear Provo. I’ll miss you darling mountains, snow, and wind, but I have humidity, beaches, and souls waiting for me down in Florida! Tampa, here I come!

Amid all the excitement of leaving is this horribly bittersweet feeling that we have to say goodbye to our district. I have come to love these Elders and Hermanas like they were my own brothers and sisters. They are some of the most amazing people I have ever met, and I feel blessed to be part of the District 38C family. So I’m going to introduce them so you can all love them just as much as me.

Elder Cox: This elder is one of the most sensitive elders I have ever met. He has eyes like Winnie the Pooh and he is just as loyal of a friend. He loves to side with us Hermanas when the Elders try to gang up on us. It makes the matchup an even 6-6, so we appreciate him a lot. He helps us out in gym a lot too: his arm workouts are killer, and his meditation sessions are relaxed perfection. He works so hard and has a total gift for expressing himself in English as well as Spanish.

Elder Warren: Elder Cox’s companion, Elder Warren is our most recent District Leader! He’s the only one of us not from the Western US…He’s actually from New York and is studying music. Way awesome. Also, he is going to baptize and marry his non-member girlfriend when he gets home. Chulina, verdad? I’m stoked for him. He’s such a great leader, I’m grateful for him.

Elder Schirmer: Elder Schirmer is one of the Elder Trio [Schirmer, Garcia, Niedert] that just got called as Zone Leaders, all of whom I love. He is probably one of the wittiest kids I’ve met. He always throwing around this little basketball egg in class, and it tends to hit him in the face a lot. Hilarious. He is the inventer of the Nasty Candy Game (See last entry) ….it’s his fault I had to eat 3 Peeps. But I’m not bitter. He keeps us laughing, but his testimonies make half the hermanas cry on Tuesdays. What a gem.

Elder Niedert: He is such a character. The Hermanas thought he hated us until we threw him a birthday party last week for the big 1-9. Since then he’s been nothing but kind to us. Lesson learned: when in doubt, throw someone a party. Everyone loves to be the Birthday King. He’s finally consented to the idea of a district reunion when we all get back. He eats hot sauce from the bottle, makes the freakiest bunny faces, and is such a sweetheart. We love Elder Niedert.

Elder Garcia: Elder Garcia is a natural leader. He was our first District Leader and is now part of the Zone Leader Trio. He’s got a talent for pep talks, and did a pretty good job of keeping us in line. (Someone had to do it.) He’s the only one who knows what song I’m humming when I have super old rap songs stuck in my head. In high school he was a football player and a male cheerleader, so yeah he’s pretty confident. And sorry Daddio, he could give you a run for your money in the toe touch department. Underneath his jokes he has a super sincere personality and such a strong testimony. He’s going to be super successful in Mexico.

Elder Morris: Elder Morris is super tall, and his feet are twice the size of mine. He has literally the sweetest personality and he has come out of his shell so much in these 6 weeks! When he smiles, he can literally light up a room. He works so hard at Spanish and being exactly obedient, and I am so happy I have gotten to know him.

Elder Rawle: Companions with Elder Morris, this elder is a trip. He never stops singing, but his voice actually rocks so like it’s fine. He keeps us entertained always; there is never a dull moment when Elder Rawle is around. He’s super artistic and is going to be famous in photography or filmography or both. He kind of already is. He is so outgoing and he currently holds the record for most packages…and they’re all HUGE and full of Mexican candy. Which he makes us all try. But he is another one with incredible leadership talent and his testimony is so strong.

Hermana Russell: I can only think of one word with this hermana: HILARIOUS. The things that come out of her mouth send us rolling on the floor in fits of giggles. She is always happy, always singing, and has a talent for finding celeb look-alikes for everyone. She tells us her dreams every single morning, and we help her interpret them. She leaves the most hideous pictures of herself on my camera, which is always a treat. She prides herself on her ugly faces. She is theatrical, not dramatic. And I don’t know what I’d do without her sunshine spirit in my life.

Hermana Miller: Garcia nicknamed her “little one” or “poquito uno.” Hermana Miller is probably the kindest, most positive person I’ve ever met in my life. She has something nice to say about everyone, everything, always. I love it. She is so dedicated to the mission too; there is not one second that she’s not working super hard. The elders tease her for her small bites, but she doesn’t let that ever bother her. She is such a special person, and she and Hermana Russell are the perfect Coordinating Sisters.

Hermana Daines: Has 24 brothers and sisters. [13 are adopted] YES REAL LIFE. She is one of my companions, and I’m grateful for it. She is so attentive to others’ needs and feelings, especially mine. She always has a story to tell, and she knows everyone from “somewhere, but I don’t know where.” She probably cries the most out of the hermanas, but her crying face is way cuter than Kim K’s so nobody minds. She is passionate about everything she does and is never afraid to share her feelings about the gospel. I admire her so much.

Hermana Platt: My other companion, and the mediator between the 3 of us. She is one of the most calm and even-tempered girls I have ever met and it’s such a blessing! She’s had a lot of hardships early in life but she handles it all so well. She understands me when I quote movies and tv shows and will quote back and forth with me. Which I LOVE. She is so open and upfront about her thoughts and feelings. She knows who she is and what she’s doing and where she’s going in life and I love her to bits!

And then there’s me. I honestly just feel incredibly blessed to be around all these incredible people every single day. I can’t imagine being put in a better district. We are completely a family, and it’s going to be so hard to say goodbye to them. [Handshakes are the most unfulfilling thing ever invented.] I’ll miss our strong testimony meetings AKA football games [thank you Elder Garcia], our in-class games, and singing nonstop while we sit in a tiny, cramped classroom for 6+ hours a day. I’m going to miss every second.

I know we’re going to change so many lives in Mexico and Florida. We are as the Army of Helaman. We are the Lord’s Army. And, we will serve him with every bit of our heart, might, mind, and strength.  Then, we will come home and meet again, and (like Alma and the Sons of Mosiah) we will talk for hours about the miracles on our missions and how stoked we are that we are still so dedicated to the gospel. I can’t wait for that day, but we’re going to take this one step at a time. So Tampa and Monterrey: get ready. We’re on the front lines, ready to bring the world His Truth.

MTC District 38C: We are Family!

MTC District 38C: We are Family

Provo LDS Temple

Provo LDS Temple

Hermana Daines, Hermana Platt, and Hermana Lewis

Hermana Daines, Hermana Platt, and Hermana Lewis

Hermana Daines, Hermana Lewis, and Hermana Platt

Hermana Daines, Hermana Lewis, and Hermana Platt

IMG_0340

Hermana Lewis and Hermana Cardullo

Hermana Lewis and Hermana Cardullo

Finding Yourself

Feliz [belated] Pascual!

It’s P Day again! And the end of another busy week at the MTC! It’s hard to believe I only have one P Day left here…I’m going to miss these elders and sisters in my district/zone. Hermana Miller said the other day, “It’s just so unfair, Heavenly Father puts you in this awesome place and puts all these incredible people in your life and we get to be best friends and just like a family…and then he ships them off to Mexico!” I agree.

We really do have a lot of fun though. The other day we played this horrible game during our language study time. We would throw a ball around the room and when you caught it, you had to say the imperfect conjugation of a verb. If you dropped the ball or said the wrong word, you had to eat some of the nasty candy we keep in the room (because nobody wants to eat it). The candy? JuJuBunnies and Peeps. I escaped the JuJuBunnies alright, but then came the Peeps round. I’m pretty sure Satan himself invented Peeps. There is absolutely nothing good about those freaky little neon ducks and bunnies. And guess what: I had to eat three. 3 WHOLE PEEPS. I’m not even being dramatic when I say I almost got reeeeally sick. I had no choice though, the elders were shouting, “Las Reglas! Las Reglas!” and you can’t just disobey las reglas. So I ate them all and felt super sick for a few hours. But I survived. And rest assured, imperfect conjugations are now ingrained into my mind until the day I die.

On Friday, we got out into the real world! Hermana Daines had to get her mouthguard fitted so we got to go on an adventure to the Dentist!! YAY DENTIST! (Yeah I said that. I was excited to go to the dentist. The MTC does wierd things to you…) I don’t think I have ever been so giddy in my life. I was stoked to see that the world was still there and music still existed and I got to sit on the comfiest couch in the world (The chairs at the MTC are the most uncomfortable things in the universe and all we do is sit on them. All day. Every day.)  I took about a billion pictures. I have never felt so alive! I felt like I was breaking out of prison. Pure exhiliration.

Easter was such an amazing experience here! Bishop Causse came and spoke to us for the morning devotional about love and The Atonement, Sheri Dew (love her) came for the night devotional about the things we need to always know and remember on our mission in life to escape Satan’s power, and for movie time we watched David A. Bednar’s talk about the Character of Christ from a couple years ago at the MTC. I wish it was available to you guys cause, whoa. That Elder Bednar is one incredible speaker!

And that’s kind of what’s been on my mind all week. Elder Bednar talked about how the Character of Christ is that he turns outward in service, compassion, and love always, when the natural man would turn inward in selfishness, self-absorption, and self-pity. He spoke pretty directly, saying, “This mission is not about you. Who cares what you want?…Get over yourself.” Are you serious? I love when apostles are blunt like that. But his main point was that the only way to find happiness, true happiness, is to serve others.

The age that I’m at now is a time when people feel like they need to “find ourselves.” So, they try to travel, try to have adventures, try to be independent and do what they want when they want to do it. But very few find their answer. Why? Because they are so self-absorbed that they completely look past the true meaning of life.

Christ says for himself, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” [Matt. 10:39]

And it’s so true. When you’re serving others and listening to spiritual promptings and acting on them, you’re being a true instrument in the hands of God. What more confirmation could you ask for than the one you receive when you act on a spiritual prompting of service and find out it was exactly what that person needed at the time? Not only do you know that God is aware of the person’s needs that you served, but that He is also aware of you and knows that you are willing to act on any job He gives you. There is no better feeling.

It seems to go against logic, to forget yourself and think about others when you feel like you’re going through your own personal hell, but Heavenly Father promises us that if we do, we will receive more happiness than we can imagine.

And I know it’s true because I’ve felt it. For the last year, I have felt so useless and stagnant in my life. I couldn’t figure out where to go, what Heavenly Father wanted me to do, or even what I wanted to do. I was frustrated and depressed and I turned completely inward. I stopped reaching out to people, stopped being social, stopped caring about others, and focused solely on myself. Isn’t that what high school and college are about? But, instead of finding answers, I just dug myself deeper and deeper into this hole of selfishness. I distracted myself with media and technology. I stopped my good habits of prayer and scripture study. And (obviously) none of it helped. I was avoiding myself by being obsessed with myself. I’m not proud of it. But lately, I can feel myself changing. I can feel myself becoming the outgoing, fun, full of life girl that I used to be. I missed that girl. And I got here by losing myself in missionary work. I’m reaching out toward my companions, my district, my zone, my investigators, the volunteers in TRC and I’m paying less attention to my needs. I’m praying more than I’ve ever prayed in my life. I’m searching my scriptures for specific answers. I’m listening. I’m paying attention. And I’m changing. And it’s awesome!

But you don’t have to be on a mission to do any of these things. There are people to serve literally everywhere you turn. Everyone has something hard they’re going through. Find them and help them. The Lord will make sure your needs are met, I promise. So despite what you’re going through, try to fight the natural man that wants you to pity yourself. Turn outward and find someone who is having a hard time, and make their burden lighter.

Lose yourself in the Lord and you’ll find yourself. Every time.

 

Mucho amor,

Hermanita Lewis

xoxo

Easter in the MTC!

Easter in the MTC!

Our outing to the dentist, and elders we met at the dentist.

Our outing to the dentist, and elders we met at the dentist.

Finally... BLUE SKIES!

Finally… BLUE SKIES!

Hermanas Platt, Daines, and Lewis

Hermanas Platt, Daines, and Lewis

 

Angels Round About You

Spiritual experiences are happening on a daily basis here. Yesterday in class we were sharing our favorite scriptures and I shared Doctrine and Covenants 84:88 (my mission scripture):

“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”

 

It’s the coolest promise ever huh? Well my teacher asked, “So who are those angels?”… to which I responded, “People who have passed away or spirits who have yet to come to earth, I think.” She then asked, “Who are your angels?”

Whoa.

I felt this overwhelming feeling come over me. I said, “I feel like for me, it’s my great-grandma and my little sister.” And when I said this I just felt so comforted. I could see them both so clearly in my mind and although I couldn’t physically feel them, it felt like they were hugging my soul. It’s so weird but that’s the only way I can describe it. I couldn’t see or touch them, but I felt their presence so strongly spiritually. I was so stunned by how strange and how incredibly happy it was at the same time.

I then thought about my car accident right before I came here. I rolled my car just 3 weeks before leaving on my mission, and I could have easily died, but I walked away without even a scratch.

I know that our Heavenly Father is always thinking of us. We are on his mind constantly. He knows our problems, sorrows, doubts, joys, fears, everything. He loves us individually.

But, I also know for a fact that He is not the only one thinking of me. I am surrounded by angels. I am never alone. They are always there: protecting me, comforting me, enjoying the highs and feeling the lows I experience in my life. I know there are angels round about each and every one of us. Whether it’s grandparents, future children, or other loved ones who have passed on, they are there always. To lift us and bear us up when we feel like we can no longer stand. And for that I am grateful.

hasta proxima semana, todo mi amor

Hermanita Lewis

In front of the Provo LDS Temple!

In front of the Provo LDS Temple!

Doctrine and Covenants 84:88

Doctrine and Covenants 84:88

 

Search for and Feel the Spirit. Everyday.

¡Hola Todos! Oh my, this week just flew by for me…it feels like P Day was just yesterday! And now I´m already past my MTC Hump Day! It’s been so awesome getting letters from so many of you guys, and sometimes even seeing you in person! (Wilsynn, Jacquie, Jennifer, Lucy: you guys don’t even realize how much I needed those hugs. You rock.) Thanks for all the love. I’m definitely feeling it here! It’s hard to believe I’ve been here for almost a month already…and at the same time I’m pretty sure I’ve been here for 7 years. Esta bien, tres mas semanas.

So, last weekend while you were all swimming/playing soccer/ spring breaking…IT SNOWED HERE. FOR 2 DAYS.  Pero, it warmed up and today is perf. Not StG perf, but close.

Most Exciting News This Week:

HERMANA TANNER IS IN MY ZONE!!!!!

What are the chances of that even happening? Slim to none. But, guess what. It happened! On Sunday, I found out that the new district in our zone was going to Argentina, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Then our dear elders did some searching and found out one of the Hermanas was Hermana Tanner. SO I WENT NUTS! I was seriously over the moon yesterday and I nearly tackled her when I saw her on the way to dinner. Seriously? My BFF is in my zone… my ward, and only 2 doors down for class…. I will see her all the time!  My district thinks I’m crazy but it’s fine. Tender mercies are the best! Like really? How is my life so good?

So the MTC is a really cool place, I promise. There are all these promptings we get as missionaries about our investigators who are really just our teachers or volunteers but these promptings are real life. It’s amazing how the Spirit can just put the right words into your mouth, or give you the exact question to ask, or turn you in the right direction for a lesson. It’s real folks. Like the other morning, I was giving the opening prayer for an “investigator” and while I was praying it was like I let go completely. I wasn’t thinking about what I wanted to say but more how to put those words into Spanish. I could feel my lips moving but they weren’t words that I was coming up with. It turned out to be our best lesson yet. So amazing.

That’s one thing that has been my main focus here:  listening and acting on spiritual promptings.  It’s so crazy because even here, in one of the most spiritual places in the world, the Spirit is hard to discern.  It’s no wonder that it can’t get our attention when we’re so plugged into iPods, iPhones, computers, school work, work, and just day-to-day life.

In our testimony meeting the other night, one of the elders brought up such a good point. “We can’t just sit and wait for the Spirit to reach us.  We have to SEARCH for it!”  It kinda goes back to that “act or be acted upon” (2 Nephi 2:26) talk given by Elder David A. Bednar, entitled “The Spirit of Revelation” (April 2011 General Conference). The Spirit is found in ACTIONMake time everyday to search out the Spirit in your life.  It’s so important.

So, that’s your challenge:

Search for and Feel the Spirit. Every day.

(Mormon Messages on youtube can help… just a hint!)

Con todo mi amor,

Hermanita Lewis

Jacquie, Jenn, Hermana Morgan Lewis, and Wilsyy at the Provo Temple!

Jacquie, Jenn, Hermana Morgan Lewis, and Wilsyy at the Provo Temple!

My reaction to the snow at the MTC!

My reaction to the snow at the MTC!

Hermana Lewis, Hermana Tanner, and Elder Garcia

Hermana Lewis, Hermana Tanner, and Elder Garcia

 

Hermana Lewis and Hermana Tanner

Hermana Lewis and Hermana Tanner